Hannah Betts’s Better…Not Younger: How I Puffed Out My 40s Pout…No Filling Needed
The most pressing beauty issue for us in our 40s is often the “midlife mouth”.
My own kisser was once a fluffy pillow. Now not so much – and I’m not the only one. The global filler market is estimated at £4.6 billion, with a good chunk of it dedicated to plumping pouts.
I don’t want filler – too fake – and TikTok’s current trends of irritating my larger lips via toothpaste, kneading, pinching and the like are unappealing.
But there are steps you can take to make your mouth look fuller. The first is to exfoliate the dry bits and apply a layer of moisture.
The global filler market is estimated at £4.6 billion, with a good chunk of it dedicated to plumping pouts
I like my lip scrub cheap and in stick form. My Revolution Pro version is so old it’s no longer for sale, however, the brand has a Man Lip Scrub (£4, boots.com), which will do just fine. My one no-budget love was MAC’s colorful Lip Scrubtious (£14.29), which I remember leaving a cunning, bee-stinged shade.
For those who prefer high-tech chemical exfoliation, Skinceuticals Antioxidant Lip Repair (£45, skinceuticals.co.uk) smoothes, hydrates and protects with mild lactic acid and the three hydrating ingredients hydroxyethylurea, glycerin and dimethicone.
U Beauty’s Plasma Lip Compound (£60, £48 subscribers, theubeauty.co.uk) caused a stir when it launched in the spring, promising to visibly plump and reshape lips in just four weeks, reshaping them without injections via the formation of new fat cells.
And I can see why Tatcha The Kissu Lip Mask (£25, spacenk.com) is such a hit in the US, filling in fine lines with plush luminosity, although I personally prefer a shot of my beloved Ultrasun Lip Protection SPF50 (£10, ultrasun.co.uk) – this is a terrific base that imparts tantalizing fullness.
Hannah (pictured) revealed that there are actually steps you can take for a fuller mouth. She advises lip scrubs, masks and choosing matte lips, to name a few
Once the condition has been sorted, you’ll want to get the liner. If you still hate lip liner after those heavy 1990s horrors, look out for Kiko’s best-selling Invisible Lip Liner (£5.99, kikocosmetics.com), which keeps color from running into crevices. Use it just outside of your natural shape, as it holds the lip color in place rather than defining it.
Due to the ever-shrinking midlife mouth size, you should also do this with a colored liner, a practice called “highlighting.” There are cheaper rivals – Barry M’s Lip Liner in Peony (£2.99, superdrug.com) – but there’s something magical about Charlotte Tilbury’s Lip Cheat in Pillow Talk (£19, charlottetilbury .com).
It shouldn’t even work on me – too much apricot – but somehow nothing is so brilliant when it comes to highlighting, which is probably why one is sold every ten seconds. I found it works best a little dull, more pencil than pencil, so looser when it comes to exaggerating the lips.
Once in place, top with any balm, gloss or color, then, for a true Nastassja Kinski in Tess Of The d’Urbervilles pout, blend again with a subtle white, cream or beige-brown pencil, depending your coloring. Next, take a brush and dab the outside of your lips with concealer, smudging the last two strokes diagonally upwards at each corner.
In terms of texture, matte lipsticks can fade. The glorious exception is Glossier’s Sheer Generation G Matte Lipstick (£14, glossier.com), which creates a diffused, slightly buffered effect. Six sultry shades, slightly different on each mouth, and so rejuvenating, I was denied a free flu shot for looking like I was in my thirties. Otherwise, shine is your friend for simulating greater mass. Dior offers a whole host of sneaky French tricks in this department.
For my money, Dior Addict’s best-selling Lip Glow (£30, dior.com) is so beautifully shimmering that it makes pouts look lavish enough. However, the fashion house also offers a glossy plumping Lip Maximiser gloss (£30) in seven shades, as well as a Lip Maximiser serum (£30) which can be combined to pump things up even more.
As for these ultra-stingy lip plumpers that we come across, they worry me a little. However, I experienced Barry M’s That’s Swell! XXL Fruity Extreme Lip Plumper (£4.99, superdrug.com) and it certainly works. Tingling with ginger extract rather than an alarming wasps’ nest, and decidedly non-sticky, it creates a glassy optical illusion that’s a pure magnifying mirror room.
When you crave more punch, these will be your weapons.
Said to be lifting and brightening, Charlotte Tilbury’s Beautiful Skin Radiant Concealer (£25, charlottetilbury.com) is a cross between slap and skincare. Testers report that their dark circles diminished by 40% in 28 days, with 88% saying their skin looked more lifted. A magic wand.
MY ICON OF THE WEEK
Isabelle Huppert, 69, (pictured) depends on Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream (£14), Guerlain Terracotta Bronzer (£43) and Sisley Nude Lip Liner (£44)
The 69-year-old French actress, who stars in Mrs Harris Goes To Paris, relies on Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream (£14), Guerlain Terracotta Bronzer (£43) and Sisley Nude Lip Liner (£44, all johnlewis.com). Its signature scent is Robert Piguet’s heady White Floral Fracas (£165, selfridges.com).
Massage in moisturizer or use with cleanser to remove the day’s dirt.
A gentle all-body cleanser, divinely scented with soothing patchouli.
Dr B’s fragrance strengthens the body and sharpens the mind with Fair Trade organic ingredients.
Not too rough, but great for removing fake tan from elbows, knees and ankles.
Convenient and adored for its subtle scent, micro-fine bamboo powder removes dead skin.
Henry’s Townhouse, formerly the London home of Jane Austen’s brother, is now a six-bedroom boutique hotel with a collection of heavenly candles sold at Liberty.
Its six scents evoke life in Regency society – teas, rums, carriages, greenhouses – each candle is presented in a hand-finished ceramic pot bearing a silhouette portrait.
The signature Henry’s Townhouse candle (£65 CAD 220g, henrystownhouse.co.uk) is sublime: inspired by the amber-scented colognes popular at the time. Spicy pepper and aromatic eucalyptus open to a heart of exquisite iris and sandalwood, with warm vanilla lending sweetness to its base. It will burn for 40 hours.